While we were in Disney World in December, we made heavy use of the Disney transportation system since we were staying at an onsite resort. We spent just over a week at the parks, so this meant we had plenty of chances to ride buses, monorails, and even boats. There were times when the seats were plentiful, but more often than not, we found ourselves riding at peak times when we were asked to get cozy and make new friends.
Honestly, while some people probably hate the full buses, I never minded too much. Sure, it’s not fun to be shoved in together like that, but I naturally enjoy talking to people, and so we had some fun bus and monorail ride conversations with people. Sometimes we had seats and sometimes we stood, but all in all, I would just remind the kids, “It’s okay if your legs are tired and you have to stand, we’re in Disney World.”
There was one person in our family that only sat if there was ample seating in the bus or monorail. That guy is the wonderful and kind man that I married.
In fact, it kind of became a game for me. If Eric had a seat and the mode of transportation started to fill, I would watch him watching the crowd start to swell and I would guess who it was that he would offer his seat to. The category was broad, mind you. Kids, elderly people, women, people with disabilities, probably anyone that looked about 20 years older than himself, and really – anyone who just looked exhausted. Sure, I gave up my seat too, but my criteria wasn’t quite as generously broad as his. One time, I even turned to him as people were coming and said, “That older lady is your mark, isn’t she?” She was, by the way.
One of the best things about him, too, is that it embarrassed him when people made a fuss over him for doing it. He just wanted to do it and be done. (That older woman I mentioned above, she messed that up for him, because she kept telling the kids what a kind Dad they have.)
Not only did I love that Eric wanted to do this, but I loved that by the kids watching him (and sometimes myself) doing it, the boys sometimes started to offer their seats to people too.
That actually finally brings me into the real heart of this story. On our last night in the parks (which, I must add was just days after the Sandy Hook School shootings when it was maybe a little easy to feel down on humanity), we stayed late using some Extra Magic Hours. Our bus was packed, although Molly, Jack, and I had all managed to get seats in various areas of the bus. Noah and Eric had immediately just planned to stand.
Although I wasn’t close to where Jack was (he was near Eric and Noah), I got to hear this story later. You see, Jack saw a woman holding a small baby who was asleep. She was going to have to stand. Jack (age 11), without prompting, quickly gave up his seat for this mother and baby. Eric told me later that he was so proud to see him do that.
When we left the bus, the family got off just before us and the Dad thanked Jack for having given up his seat for his wife and then quickly gave Jack a five dollar bill as he exited the bus.
While I know that there was no reason that that man had to do that, it reminded me at that moment that there were still so many more good people than there were bad. The funny thing was, it was only later that I realized that perhaps the man had felt compelled to reward Jack because Jack’s action, without a prompting from anyone else, had reminded him of that very same thing.